social comparison theory and me


Social comparison theory was derived because humans are highly social species. The theory is that we seek to evaluate our abilities by comparing them with those of others. This behavior helps us to understand ourselves better. Social comparison happens in two different ways. First, upward social comparison is that we compare ourselves with people who do something better than us. Second, downward social comparison is that we compare ourselves with people who do something worse than us. Both can boost our self-concepts.

This really happens in our lives. In my experience, I was always curious to know my rank in my class after every exam when I was in high school. I don't really care my exam score itself and how I feel about it without any comparison, because the only important thing to me at that time was how much I did well compared to others. Also, in fact, I want to know whether my friends and others perform well or not, and how much they perform well. I think this is caused by social comparison theory which is fairly pervasive throughout many people. If I could know how others perform, then I could feel better because I find that I do better than others, and sometimes I could realize that I have to do better and cheer up. Also, by knowing someone who performs similar to me, I could be relieved and feel comfortable because I know there are people who do similar to me.

Korean beauty standard in 19th century


There are many different beauty standards all over the world. However, nowadays, women's beauty standard is fairly similar in many developed countries across cultures. Thin and tall woman with glamorous body is preferred. Also, women have to have oval face, big eyes with a double eyelid, and big nose. I think the reason that this kind of standard becomes pervasive is an influx of western culture to Asian countries. In Asia, there are not many people who have this western preferred faces naturally, some women tend to do plastic surgery to fulfill the western beauty standard that I mentioned above even though people emphasize individual facial characteristics more than past.

full picture.jpgonly face.jpg

The title of the picture above is 'me-in-doe' which means a drawing of a beauty. This is a drawn by a famous Korean painter in early of 19th century. This shows traditional Korean's beauty standard long time ago. Woman in the picture has slightly round face (not an oval face) with chubby cheeks. Also she has small eyes without a double eyelid. And it shows a gentle impression on her face. This is really different from current beauty standard of women and western standard which is easily seen from Hollywood stars.

Nature vs. Nurture


After this class the thing that I will always remember is the nature vs nurture debate. The reason I will remember this is because it brought up a lot in class a lot and a very interesting topic. Along with that both sides have support that show they are important to the development of children. The reason this debate is so important is that it attempts to show which is more important in development, the environment or genetics. The twin study by the university of Minnesota that compares twins that are seperated and compares their IQ and psychological characteristics. The study was a comparison study done between twins that were separated when they were very young. The study showed that mono zygotic twins were still similar even when they are apart, so it shows that genetics do matter in development. Another thing that is important to note is the fact that the monozygotic twins are never identical, this shows that genetics doesn't show the whole thing. Another thing they studied was adopted kids. When comparing the adopted kids they are not the same either. Since they are grown in the same environment this shows that the environment doesn't define a person either. After this class I now understand a lot more about what influences kids when they are growing up and I will never forget the nature nurture debate because it repeatedly shows up just by seeing different people everyday.2011-02-01-Nature-vs-Nurture.jpg
Comic about environment and child development

Eliminate Stereotypes: Everyone Deserves a Chance!


The studies in social psychology on prejudice and discrimination are what I believe to be the most important concepts I have learned in PSYCH 1001. I want to be a middle-high school English teacher and I will definitely be dealing with these issues when I'm an educator. I will welcome students into my classroom when they are at a very important stage of their development as humans--growing out of childhood and becoming young adults. These students will arrive with many stereotypes (a positive or negative belief about a group's characteristics that we apply to most members of that group) about others, and hopefully I can teach these students that this is not correct: everyone deserves a chance; you should not judge someone just because they have a certain religion or skin color. As we have learned many times throughout the PSYCH 1001 course, humans are cognitive misers, we try to save mental energy and simplify our world. According to our book, "stereotypes can be the seeds from which prejudice grows" (528). The in-group bias is the tendency to favor individuals inside our group relative to members outside our group, a result of stereotypes and prejudice. As an educator, I will try to teach my students how to break down stereotypes and eliminate prejudice in our school to help create a more accepting world.

A Working Model for Strengths, Weaknesses, and Success

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The three concepts that have surprised, provided explanation and a point for pushing off of for me personally, have been The Big Five of personality, Attachment Theory, and the Yerkes Dodson Law.

I've always had a strong predisposition for being critical of myself and the Berkley Personality Profile not only gives clear definition to these identifiable, real, and universal traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism) but has helped me to objectively identify the strengths of the unique constellation that is my personality and those around me. Friends, co-workers, and family can all be appreciated for their uniqueness and I can see harnessing this concept to create the best working team in future projects . I can see also understand on a psychology level why particular friendships are a natural fit.

Attachment theory will be very important for me in the next five years. Again by identifying an explanation, "Oh, I withdraw or am afraid of being too dependent or close", already has broken down walls for me. In particular with someone who has proven trustworthy, I realize it's important to let myself need him and it allows him to come through- something he's very good at. It also creates an informed point of view toward others who might throw up walls or act in a way that can be confusing. I will now make more of an effort to reassure others that I'm there for them too.

Thirdly, the Yerkes Dodson Law is permanently stuck in my memory already. I'm obsessed with productivity and efficiencies, so being brutally honest with myself I know I write or study topics like psychology better in a slightly arousing setting (like Starbucks) than in a dead silent library. These simpler tasks are performed better that way, while working on a design project or photo editing are best done quietly and without observation. It's these concepts along with motivation and emotion that shape and improve systems for success in academics, work, and relationships. Thank you PSY 1001.


The factors of Influence formation and development personality can be summed up by two main aspects: genetic and environmental. Two interactions determine the formation and development of the personality. The genetic basis formation and development of personality, such as the formation of temperament, including excitability, strong or weak, active or passive, the reaction speed of the activity level of intensity of reaction. Environmental factors determine the development of personality acquired, such as self-concept, attitudes and values, morality, interpersonal characteristics, habits, etc.. Social and environmental factors involved in children's growth and living environment, such as ethnic, cultural, family and parents, parenting, school, peer, social change and life events and other factors.

We develop our personality and usually formation most of it during childhood. With the children's growth, the social interaction is expanding. In addition to the parents and family members, most exchanges of children may be companions, including kindergarten friends, schoolmates, neighbors' children, the group members. The companion has a multifaceted impact on the formation and development of the personality of the child. So it's important to choose friends since we were a child, because our friends will influence us and shape our personality.

Maybe it's keys...


One section I thought really interesting was the small section on autism in Chapter 15. One of the main concerns that they brought up is that the rates of autism have increased 657%. How can this be most wonder? Is it really because of the MMR vaccine or is it because we have gotten really good at detecting it? I believe it to be more along the lines of us getting better at recognizing the disorder and also with the inclusion of Asperger's. One interesting point with autism that I have heard in another course is that most children show different brain activity and preference for familiar voices like those of their family. This is not the case with autistic individuals. They show no preference for the voices of their family. I also recently read a novel written through the perspective of an autistic individual which was totally engrossing and fascinating to take a peek into an autistic individual's mind and how their lives work and all the challenges they face with relationships and everyday activities. The name of the book was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

just smile and nod


Another topic that I found really fascinating and applicable was the facial feedback hypothesis. We've all probably had that situation where we just because the person we are talking to starts to brush at their face we immediately think we obviously have something disgusting on our face and they are politely trying to tell us. Sure this is occasionally the case but it is a perfect illustration of how much people's reactions and facial expressions influence how we direct a conversation. Some one is smiling and nodding along in our story we are much more likely to continue with enthusiasm than if they appear bored out of their mind and maintain poor eye contact we are more likely to finish the story quickly and leave. This is likely to help me to improve my conversations as I know even more than before just how much of an impact my facial expressions can impact a conversation.

The placebo effect in Alcohol

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I'll never forget the section where we learned about alcohol, and the effects on the brain. I have grown up in a household where both my parents drink, not in ridiculous quantities, but quite often. As soon as my sister turned of age, she also began drinking often. She has given me a hard time as to why I haven't began drinking yet, she feels that it is a major step in growing up. And my dad also seems to be quite depressed that he can't grab a drink with his son when the subject comes up. As well, being in college, I'm surrounded by people who go out drinking, and I get hassled as to why I don't drink. Learning what I did from this section reaffirmed my reasons for not doing so, and this will help me provide reasons to those who will try to pressure me, and will increase my confidence that they are simply wasting money on pungent tasting drinks. I will never forget this.

Classical Conditioning


The concept I learned in psychology that I think I will remember for years to come is classical conditioning. I'm not sure why this is so important to me, maybe it is cause after learning about it I can relate many things to this concept. A simple example that I can think of now for those of you who are athletes and played a sport in high school is, "get on the line." If a random person were told that it wouldn't mean much or trigger any fear. But athletes know that when you here get on the line it means that you are going to be conditioning. This makes "get on the line" a conditioned stimulus with the conditioned response being fear. Classical conditioning is one of the concepts I will never forget because I feel it can relate to situations in my life.

Psychological Disorders


Chapter 15 is about different types of disorders humans have. Some of the main ones covered in this book are: mental illness, anxiety disorder, mood disorder and suicide, personality and dissociative disorders, enigma of schizophrenia, and childhood disorders. All these disorders are pretty well known. Phobias are what really interest me, because I don't understand how people can be scared to death of the weirdest things. Such as ancraophobia is the fear of wind. If you are interested in more weird phobias you can go to .

When the topic of Eugenics came up in lecture and Chapter 9, it was new to me. I never knew that this social movement, termed by Sir Francis Galton, took place in the early twentieth century. One particularly trivial evidence of this movement was the popularity of the boy's name Eugene spiking in the 1920s. My mind immediately went to one of my favorite movies (it just is okay) Gattaca, where the lead character's genetically superior brother is named Eugene, in a world where genetics has become the new form of 'classicsm'. Check out this video for a great visual analysis of the movie (red appears in the doctors office because red, like blood, is trusted. The staircase in the apartment resembles a DNA double helix).

Our text states that Eugenics or genetics were brought back into question in the 1960s, and it seems it's making a reappearance in the present. This 2010 Wall Street Journal Article describes an abortion subsidy policy of Obamacare that was being debated as a cost cutting measure for the burden of babies who don't grow into productive adults.

Here's an excerpt that brings the point home:
Getting government into the eugenics business would have disturbing implications for reproductive liberty. What would happen to a woman who received, say, a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome? She would be free (as she is today) to exercise her right to have an abortion. But would she be free to exercise her right not to have an abortion?

Presumably the government could not directly force her to abort, as this would provoke political outrage and run afoul of Roe v. Wade and subsequent rulings. But one can easily imagine softer forms of coercion coming into play. A government-run insurance plan, for instance, could deny or limit coverage for the treatment of certain conditions if diagnosed before fetal viability, on the ground that the taxpayer should not be forced to pay the costs of the woman's choice to carry her child to term. Perhaps the courts would find this an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose, but that does not strike us as an open-and-shut case.

Lastly, entrepreneur Tim Ferriss recently promoted a start-up he's been an investor in, called Wellness FX, which in the last month opened for public business in San Francisco. They are a private company that sends a medical professional to your home or office to collect blood samples, providing comprehensive diagnostics. One of their offerings is a genetic profile.

"Assessing cardiac genetic markers provides a window into an individual's risks for a variety of healthrelated risks. These tests measure markers such as Prothrombin Mutation, Factor V Leiden, Warfarin Sensitivity, and the type of genes you have for folic acid metabolism. It is important to learn your genetic profile." (

In his book, The Four Hour Body, Ferriss mentions identifying his muscle fiber content and other genetic factors and used this information to improve his fast-muscle twitch training.

I don't find it hard to imagine that in the future this set of data will be another on the list that can be shared between companies. It' somewhat alarming how fast this would have the possibility of progressing, and while it's not new that upper class receive information first, the advantage of leveraging your genetic make-up sets the stage for further distancing of the 20% of our population that grosses 80% of all wealth.

I know it's the end of the semester, but if anyone is still reading I'd love to hear comments of what people think about this issue. What do you think?

Interesting Disorders

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I feel that the one thing I will take away from this semester in psychology would be the section on psychological disorders, specifically schizophrenia. I do not know why I am so fascinated by this particular disorder, but it is just so interesting to me. I have seen so many movies with people being diagnosed with schizophrenia and having seen their symptoms and such, I would love to go deeper into the disorder. I know some people think that by placing a person in a mirrored room will reverse the disorder and I would like to see this proven or at least have more information on it, more than just what a professor can give me in a lecture and/or what the book can provide. I do not understand how people can become so insane like those who have schizophrenia. I would like to even, if possible, do research of my own on this disorder. To understand what these people really encounter within their hallucinations (sounds and visuals), delusions, and be able to see someone in the middle of one of their experiences. As I said above, I have really only seen anything in movies, and I know almost every movie has it's story, true or not, extremely glorified, however, some movies, such as Mirrors (2008) about a women who they thought was psychotic, but was possessed with a devil. But at the start of her diagnosis, it was very accurate with what someone with schizophrenia would act like. I believe it was the first time I had learned anything about the disorder, and it was then that I my interest was snagged on the disorder and wanting to learn more about it. I'm sure it will stay with me for at least five years if not longer!

The Long Journey to Recovery

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Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, is a group therapy program which has been a dominating force in the area of alcoholic recovery programs since 1935, with one point seven million members world wide. Their twelve-step program to achieve sobriety has given many people the support system they need to overcome their addiction through weekly meetings with other recovering alcoholics. This idea works with the social psychological principal of Group polarization helping people strengthen their resolve to become a sober member of society. With many people of a group talking towards the same goal there is a greater chance that each single group member will become more passionate about it as well.

Though AA is the largest organization world wide to treat alcoholism, no one therapy option is completely perfect. In fact sixty eight percent of people drop out of AA within the first three months. One of the more controversial pieces of the AA's program is the complete banning of alcohol from a person's life. A lesser known but equally effective treatment option is known as the Cognitive Behavioral Coping-Skills Therapy, CBST. This treatment does not ban alcohol from a person's life but changes their drinking behavior. Their core belief is that any type of psychopathology, like alcohol abuse, is a maladaptive learning process, a pattern of thinking that cause emotional problems, and designs techniques through which these behaviors can be unlearned. This therapy is flexible in the way that it is structured so that it focuses more on the individual's life, teaching them to cope with stress and tolerate negativity. Perhaps the more individualized format of the CBST program will help to reduce the percentage of people dropping out of out patient treatment and help them achieve their goal of sobriety.

The first thing about prejudice and stereotype

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I think the first thing about them is that we always create a group to fit in.

Groups tend to do things very similarly even when the individuals in the group are acting alone. It's because they share culture and philosophy and things like that.

When different groups meet together, there are always "representatives" of the group. Even though the person from a group is not quite the definition of the group identity, he or she involuntarily becomes a representative of his or her group. It's because the group simply doesn't know about the other group.

I know my language right now is quite confusing. So I want to share my story.

When I first came to US, there weren't many Asians in my town.
So whatever I did back in the days built a sense of "that's what Koreans normally do" to some of my American friends. They were always asking me "is that normal for koreans?" or something like "that must be a Korean thing," if they were confused or didn't know certain things.

Oppositely, to me, everything my American friends did was quite an "American thing," because I knew nothing about them when I first came. I remember one day, I thought Americans only eat fast food without cooking at home. I mean it's true that fast food is very popular in US, but they obviously cook at home and fast food is not the only thing to eat in US. I was just young and didn't know at that time.

However, as time passed, we started to associate each other in the same group. Slowly, we did not really see ourselves differently for the most of the times because we became similar in many ways. They now understand me as an individual, not as a representative of Korea.

Overall, I think the first reason why prejudice and stereotype are being created is that groups have a group thing, which is quite different from others.

This is just a youtube video, which is talking about the group identity.

Correlation vs Causation

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correlation vs causation.jpg

Correlation vs Causation is my weakest part when thinking critically.
I tend to think something happened because of something else.
I know it's really stupid, but I can't help it.
If I did a bad job on a test, I go like "maybe it's because I had a stomachache in the morning. I always do badly when I'm sick" or something like that.

Our textbook defines correlation-causation fallacy as the error of assuming that because one thing is associated with another, it must cause the other. Correlation vs causation is one of the six scientific thinking principles, which are explained well in the textbook.

To really know, I looked up online to find several examples of this fallacy. I found several ones which were very common.

1. Children raised by single parents do less well at school (and later in life).

2. People who own red cars are twice as likely to have an accident as people who own blue cars.

3. People who are poor have worse educations and people who are single are generally poorer.

(I found those examples from the website,

To some extent, maybe it can be true for some of us because we may face the problem personally. But they are certainly not correlated each other for sure.

I think this fallacy is one thing I really need to realize at many times.

ps. This youtube video has an example of correlation vs causation too.

Don't get fooled, it's called "cold reading"


Cold reading.
Cold reading is a trick method, which many psychics and fortune tellers normally do. It's just the power of reading your mind off of how you behave, how you feel, and things like that.

Our textbook says cold reading works because we seek meaning in our worlds and often find it even when it's not there. So in many respects we're reading into the cold reading at least as much as the cold reader is reading into us. (pg.134)

I think fortune cookies can be the example of this. It usually works because we seek meaning from the line and often find it even when it's not really there. For instance, one time, I got a fortune cookie saying something like " You're going to meet a special person who will bring you a smile." I remember I kept thinking about it whenever I felt like he or she was the person who will bring me a smile after I got the line for awhile. It's stupid, but once I get it, it's stuck on my mind somehow, especially when I put a meaning to it

So I noticed that if we put a meaning to anything, we kind of fall into trap easily. Cold reading works perfectly for a fortune teller or someone like that when we came for an answer. I think it's because we tend to put a meaning into the word that the fortune teller( or fortune cookie) says and keep trying to figure it out. Then a small thing becomes bigger and eventually we may think it's the one that the fortune teller was talking about.

So don't get fooled by those intuitive people. They are just cold reading off of your behavior or your state of mind or something that they can feel and see.

Orson Welles talked about cold reading on a show.
here is a youtube video for that.

Il n'y a que deux endroits au monde où l'on puisse vivre heureux: chez soi et à Paris.

'There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home, and in Paris." - Earnest Hemingway.

This quotation, by Earnest Hemingway, illustrates the power of idealism over individuals, specifically with regard to the famous "City of Love" - Paris, France. For as long as we can remember, Paris has been a near-perfect city of romance and happiness. And indeed, many people find romance and happiness upon visiting this beautiful city. However, there are also people who arrive in Paris, only to find that the city doesn't actually live up to their lofty dreams.

Unfortunately, for many of us, finding the negative aspects of the City of Love does much more harm than simply tarnishing our 'perfect vacation'. In fact, a recent article from the BBC details a very specific mental disorder called 'Paris Syndrome'. This syndrome usually only affects Japanese visitors to Paris, and occurs when these visitors experience a severe culture shock upon arriving in the city. In these cases, the victims do not find the city as incredible as it is often portrayed in the media; therefore, when they encounter rude tour guides or unkind waiters, they undergo severe culture shock and often must leave the city.

This mental illness is quite intriguing. I know that we have been discussing mental illness diagnosis in class lately, especially with regard to the "Four Ds" of diagnosis. Someone diagnosed with Paris Syndrome is certainly dysfunctional, and this type of intense cultural shock undoubtedly deviates from normal social activity. I'm sure the effects of this psychological illness are dangerous to the individual as well.


One thing about Paris Syndrome that I find especially interesting is its connection to the media. The media greatly affects the way people view Paris; more specifically, the fact that this syndrome is found only in Japanese tourists makes me think that the media's portrayal of this city is drastically different from the media portrayals of Paris found in other parts of the world.

How do you guys think the media plays into mental illness diagnosis? Studies have shown that the media dictates 'normal behavior' in society; I feel as though this is quite evident with regard to Paris Syndrome. What do you guys think??


Brain Injury recovery

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One topic that I have found very interesting in psychology is the study of how the brain functions after damage has been inflicted to it. The fact that the brain can repair itself is very fascinating to me. If in some way the brain is injured it can still adapt and heal itself. An example of this is split brain surgery. This operation is done when a patient has uncontrollable epilepsy and has seizures that are dangerous to their health. The procedure is very difficult and has neurosurgeons separate the two hemishpers by severing the corpus callosum. Even though the patient has the two hemispheres of the brain unable to communicate with one another the person can still function normally with some minor side effects, but the seizures are gone.
Another example of the brain adapting is when an amputee is able to feel a limb that they no longer have. Even though it is gone the majority of patients feel sensations in the phantom limb. The reason for this is the brain is not being stimulated in that area enough so to make up for it the limb is feels sensations when another body part also feels sensation.
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Phantom Limb Comic

The Message Behind The "Quit Plan" Ad

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This is an ad for "Quit Plan" which is a company that serves as a support group to help those quit smoking. This advertiser manipulates emotions by using a graphic image of someone who has developed throat cancer at a young age and is now forced to speak through a speaking device because there is now a hole in his throat. This image makes people feel sad and scared, because no one wants to end up with a disease such as cancer that can lead to death and no one wants to end up with a hole in their throat using a device to help them speak. The advertiser uses this extreme case of the effect of tobacco to help market and make profit off of selling nicotine patches, gum, and other services that help wing those off of smoking.

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